This past week was my “studio week”. It had been marked in my calendar for weeks. – One week in which the responsibility for the kids, for organizing childcare, and generally everything that regarded the kids, as well as household chores did not rest on me. It would
I have been looking forward to this week for a long time. Other mothers might choose to spend such a time with sleep and some good books, but it probably does not come as a surprise to you that I spend the biggest chunk of that time in my studio. I climbed up the stairs to my refugium rather early on most days, and on one day I even started there, still in my nightwear at 5 am.
It was a good week but also exhausting. Now I feel like I need some vacation. And while a Sunday and bank holiday Monday are coming up, there is also the tax form that I have to return by June 1st…
Of course I did not manage to do all I hoped to do. M. says that has partly to do with the fundamental fact that one never manages to do all one wants to do, no matter how much time there is, and partly to my poor planning. Probably he is right. But I can show off some results.
A while ago, Zoran Vidakovic asked me to participate in a project of his. He is working on a series of books, for which he either contributes the content or the binding, and befrieneded artists and bookbinders contribute the other part.
I was happy to be asked and said “yes”. – And then did nothing for a while because so much else was going on. So it was one of my first priorities to produce something for him this week. I had decided to contribute contents, and more specifically, I wanted to use my poem “erased”. I wrote it this year in January and used it before before for a message in a bottle. Since the text and with it the general concept was already there, I expected this to go straight forward. Unfortunately that was not the case. I made a lot of paper versions before I finally finished a first copy on parchment of which you can see a couple of pages in the photos above.
I also worked on my new version of ruled worlds, and made a first world “world” from all the pages in one of the Victorian Geometry for Artists books that I purchased for this project. Unfortunately I finished it just tonight, and I have not managed to make better photos of it. There is definitely still room for improvement, but I think I am on a good path there.
Shortly before my studio week started, I purchased an ink stick, a new brush, and an ink stone as well as a packet of Japanese Kanji practise paper. So between, before and during much of the above, I played with the new toys. I had used Chinese ink before but only that which comes ready made.
Liz Davidson posted throughout April pictures of lines in ink on her blog, and maybe that sparked my interest in it again. Since I had no idea whatsoever how to use inkstick and -stone, I looked for tutorials in that regard, and found this video on youtube with the title “how to make your own strokes in sumi-e”. The presented exercise looked interesting, and I thought I’d have a go with that.
I filled page after page with strokes and pattern, trying out various brushed I have. It was great fun! The first thing I needed to learn was makeing the ink. It is not hard as such, but I found it hard to decide when I was done rubbing. The first few trials produced rather faint strokes. I played almost every day and still feel much room for play. The image above is from tonight, when I was tidying up and found a brush that I had not tried before.
I even made some mini books from it. It was an opportunity to pull out Kojiro Ikegami (“Japanese Bookbinding: Instructions From A Master Craftsman”, the book about japanese bookbinding) and practise the real thing: The mini books are complete with an inner binding and fabric corner pieces.
I also made the odd job here and there and am all in all rather satisfied with the week. The mini books were meant to end up as a contribution to the year’s we love your books with the theme “home”. For this to happen, I’ll have to finish the box and pick up the last loose ends for it, though. But even if this won’t happen, I am really happy with the little books.